Last Updated: April 22, 2019
Are your parents or senior loved ones hesitant to visit assisted living communities? You have the opportunity to help them overcome their reluctance.
Although assisted living can be difficult to consider and a tough conversation to have with loved ones, it is important to discuss assisted living care with your parents to ensure their safety and well-being. The best way to determine if assisted living is right for you and your family is to visit a community. Read more about overcoming these challenges and finding the best time to visit assisted living communities.
A Place for Mom Senior Living Advisor, Alycia Altman, MSW, shares how reluctance is one of the biggest challenges for families considering assisted living care.
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“We can talk to our families every day and everything is ‘fine’ until we visit them.” Then, she says, “it can be an entirely different story.”
Once you take the time to evaluate your parent’s current living arrangement, it may become clear that an assisted living community is the right choice, whether it’s because you’re worried about your senior loved one being alone or isolated, or whether it’s because they are starting to need help with day-to-day activities. Still, it may be challenging to broach the topic of assisted living — in fact, your parent may hesitate or even refuse to visit communities.
Altman says resistance is one of the biggest challenges families face when it comes to moving a senior parent. She suggests using your time and visits with them as an opportunity to ease the discussion. Your visits “are an opportunity for families to express their concerns, look for home safety issues and increase the likelihood [that] your loved one will visit assisted living communities.”
For long-distance caregivers and families whose senior loved ones live far away, helping your parent tour communities can be particularly essential — a visit with them can be the perfect opportunity for everyone to get together and tour senior living options.
“When you tour an assisted living community and develop a relationship with staff and educate yourself about the type of care the communities provide, you are essentially building a disaster recovery plan,” says Altman.
“An out-of-state daughter recently told me how happy she was that they toured a community. When her mom needed help and couldn’t go home alone after a fall, she was able to make one phone call to her community contact and within hours her mom was safe in a community that the family chose together.”
Having a plan already in place means that you won’t have to worry if something happens to your loved one and you aren’t able to get there in time to help. Your parent will be comfortable knowing that they’ll be familiar with the community and had a role in the decision-making process.
One way Altman suggests overcoming resistance from senior loved ones is to tour communities during social events. “Since there are so many social events at assisted living communities — like festive dinners or intergenerational events with children — you can request a calendar of events be mailed to your senior to help your family find the right time to visit,” she says. “Most importantly, because the events often center around family, food and music, your loved ones do not feel pressured or singled out.”
This can help reassure reluctant seniors that life in an assisted living community doesn’t mean they’ll be alone or that their families will abandon them.
In fact, most senior living communities offer opportunities for senior loved ones to stay involved all year long. So if you’re concerned about a parent, don’t wait.
Share your tips for overcoming resistance in senior loved ones to visit assisted living communities — we’d love to hear your family’s story in the comments below.